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Study Reveals No Link Between Scrapie in Sheep and BSE in Cows

 
  August, 14 2000 6:10
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SORTING THE SHEEP FROM THE...

In Nature [Vol. 406, Issue 6796 (2000), p. 584], researchers report that they find no evidence in sheep for an increase in scrapie - before, during or after the BSE outbreak in cows. Farms raising both sheep and cattle were no more likely to have had scrapie, nor were regional scrapie and BSE incidences significantly correlated. This makes it "unlikely that a substantial epidemic of BSE has occurred in the sheep population," Mike B. Gravenor of the Institute for Animal Health, Compton, Berkshire, UK, and colleagues say in a Brief Communication.

The link between BSE and variant Creutzfeld-Jakob disease in humans, and the experimental transmission of BSE to sheep raised the possibility that some sheep in the UK could have been infected during the 1980s after exposure to contaminated feed. But the group conclude that "the change in sheep spongiform encephalopathy incidence since 1962 has been a gradual process, with no large epidemic during the 1980s and 1990s".

CONTACT:

Mike Gravenor tel +44 1635 578411,
e-mail michael.gravenor@bbsrc.ac.uk

(C) Nature press release.


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